Assalamu aleikum, people near and far.
My name is Aisha, birth name Elina. I am a 28-year old Finnish writer. I have been a Muslim for two and a half years, and I have learned many lessons on this journey already.
My story as a Muslim started from the very beginning of my life. Since I was a child, I have believed in One God. Nobody talked to me about religion, but I still had my faith which kept me going in the very early stages of my life. I prayed, or as I see it now, was making du’aa in every situation. When I lost my keys or toys – I made du’aa. When I was afraid about having nightmares – I made du’aa. Later in my life,these small prayers became deeper when I started to realise I was somehow different than others at my age, and I felt I didn’t belong.
Many times, when I was younger, I used to think about things deeper and tried to find meaning in things. Still, I felt I didn’t belong and I started to get depressed. I never was a party-going chit chat person. When I got deeper into depression, I wanted to find a way out and be like those people I secretly admired. Those who seemed not to think about why we are here, but who were living the best of their youthful years. Then I found the easy relief of drug and alcohol use. I tried so hard to be one of those people to whom I had controversial feelings. I thought I could get some of that happiness and confidence if I could just stay close to them.
Be smarter, be “better”.
No matter how many late-night debates you win, it would never change the world. It would just bring more barriers between people. So of course, I couldn’t fit, and maybe I didn’t even want to, after all. But this lifestyle took over. I found a boyfriend and moved to another city with him.
At the time, it wasn’t really “cool” to be religious. The people I met on my way were very intellectual, activist type, and very clearly atheist. Again, I wanted to belong. I made some wrong choices which led to getting more ill. I was already suffering from depression and the drug use lead my mind to go in to psychosis. Scary, right? Somehow, I survived after a few hospital stays.
I talked with a few Muslim friends I had about Islam and started to become really interested. What fascinated me, was the amount of knowledge, praying and their way of interacting. I found the Prophet’s (saws) sunnah beautiful, and Islam started to look like the only truth.
Need of for Light
I met my ex-husband at that time. Having just finished my first hospital stay, I met him in the railway station of our capital Helsinki. I don’t want to say too much, and I want to forgive him, so I will just say that life stayed the same and got even worse. But he was a Muslim, despite his actions. So, the conversion got a new light in my mind. In the few good days, we talked about life and what is truly important, and I understood that to become a Muslim didn’t mean I should be perfect right away. That if, like I had, a strong belief of God, then I should make the change and go to the mosque. The rest would follow later.
Again, I was at a point in my life where I had to get into the light and I knew in my heart that Islam would save me. I went to the mosque with my ex and his friend, said the shahadah (testimony of faith) and got an English translated Qur’an as a gift, ma sha Allah. I started to wear hijab that day and never took it off and I learned how to pray and started to read the Quran. This led to me feeling peace and I was proud, or better said, blessed. Really, Islam was the saviour from the life I was living.
Two and a Half Years On
It has been two and a half years of tests now. Many things have happened in this time. There has been a Nikah (a marriage contract), talaq (an Islamic divorce), 3 Ramadans and numerous days of struggle and ease growing as a person and as a Muslim. From the future, I hope to find a good husband and have children. But meanwhile, I will keep on making du’aa, like I did when I was a kid. After all I’ve been through, I have become stronger and I know, “with hardship comes ease”.